Elbaville Methodist celebrating history

Published 9:59 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

ADVANCE – Elbaville United Methodist Church is celebrating the 60th-year anniversary of the sanctuary this Sunday.

It starts at 9 a.m. with a light breakfast, followed by Sunday School at 10, and worship at 11 with former pastor (1977-1985), the Rev. Tony Jordan. A fellowship meal will follow, with meat and beverages provided.

There will be time for reminiscing, and historical items and photos on display.

In the afternoon music features The Dunnits and Risen Son Quartet.

The church at 2595 NC 801 S. got its name from the community. A post office was opened there in 1870, and the community is believed to have been named after W.J. and W.R. Ellis and Richmond Bailey, using the first “El” from the Ellis name and the first “Ba” from the Bailey name.

The first land grant was given Elbaville Methodist Protestant Church in 1872 by John F. Brinkley and wife to G.W. Sidden. The first deed was made on May 19, 1880 to the trustees of the church, G.W. Sidden and H.T. Smithdeal.

The exact date the first church was built is not known, but the cornerstone states the date as 1882. The lumber was dressed by hand by the men of the community. The church was weatherboard and had five windows on each side. There were two doors to the front in the keeping with the tradition of separating the men from the women.

The land for the cemetery was given by W.J. and Dollie Ellis and W.R. Ellis on June 4, 1880. Nathaniel Ellis, son of W.J. and Dollie, was the first to be buried in the cemetery. The date on his grave is April 2, 1880, so he was buried before the land was deeded. The cemetery bears family names including the original names of: Bailey, Ellis, Fry, Foster, Lyon, Haneline, Markland, Mechum, Myers, Orrell, Robertson, Sidden, Tucker, Waller and Zimmerman.

The  first official roll is dated 1901 and contained 111 members. Among those names are Bailey, Carter, Garwood, Ellis, Hege, Markland, Myers, Orrell, Shutt, Tucker, Waller and Zimmerman.

In 1901, Elbaville was a member of the Mocksville Circuit which included Dulins, Bethel, Union Chapel and Union Grove. It is not known exactly who the first pastor was, however; in 1904, the pastor was George L. Reynolds. In 1904 the membership was 125.

The classrooms were added in the 1920s. The Elbaville Schoolhouse was probably built prior to 1900 and stood next to the church. It was sold in 1925 and the church bought the land.

In 1939, all Methodist churches were unified and the name of the church was changed to Elbaville Methodist Church. In 1940, Elbaville was on a five church charge with Advance, Mocks, Bailey’s Chapel and Fulton.

In 1950, a building fund was started by the congregation to remodel the old church or build a new one. It was decided to build a new church and plans were drawn and approved and on May 10, 1955, construction began. The Rev. W.E. Fitzgerald was pastor and the active membership numbered 75.

The men gave time and labor, the women held suppers and the youth conducted projects to raise money. With a sacrificial effort on the part of everyone, more than 2,500 man and machine hours were donated and $15,000 was raised to complete the building valued at $25,000.

Stained glass windows and furniture were presented as memorials. The bell from the old church was placed in the steeple of the new church and continues to ring each Sunday calling all to worship.

On July 8, 1956, it was officially opened by the district superintendent, the Rev. M.T. Hipps. All debts were paid and the church was dedicated on homecoming day in 1957.

The old church was removed and converted into a dwelling in 2002. The sanctuary was remodeled.

In 1959, the Elbaton Charge was formed consisting of Elbaville, Fulton and Bailey’s Chapel churches. Through a joint effort, the churches built a six-room parsonage in 1960 and it was dedicated on May 12, 1963.

In August, 1964, Elbaville began raising money for an educational and fellowship building. The Rev. Billy Clinard was pastor. Many donations were given by members, former members and friends and on Sept. 1, 1974, ground was broken. On March 12, 1976, the building was dedicated by the Rev. George Rudisill, district superintendent.

In 1996, Elbaville became a two-point charge with Fulton and in June, 2013 Elbaville and Fulton each were appointed a part-time minister.

A replica of the original church built by Richard Myers Sr. is on display in the church.

To learn more, call 336-998-6812.